‘Aggrieved Ninjas free to go’

Bulawayo Chiefs

BULAWAYO Chiefs have agreed to release players that want out as long as proper transfer procedures are followed.

This comes amid reports of a financial crisis at the club.

The Ninjas are owed four months’ salaries, but sources within the club said some senior players have been approaching club owner, Lovemore Sibanda, getting monies to see them through and then turn to social media and club WhatsApp groups to sow seeds of discord among other players.

The source said Sibanda was willing to retain the players, but if they wanted to go, interested clubs could approach Bulawayo Chiefs to formalise the processes.

“Chiefs have openly said to the aggrieved players, if there are teams that want them, those teams can officially make request for the players online and the club will clear them, but none has come through.

Gone are the days where clubs write clearance letters for players to go around carrying, players have been given permission to talk to any club and let the club request the online clearance and Chiefs will honour it,” the source said.

The source said the Chiefs players have been getting money in bits and pieces upon approaching the leadership and the club is acknowledging and committed to paying what it owes to the players.

An unnamed businessman is said to have come on board to help normalise the situation at Bulawayo Chiefs.

“The senior players (names withheld) have been getting cash from the owner of the club promising him that they will calm down the situation, but they pocket the money and then go on players’ WhatsApp group and do the opposite. The team can’t come on social media and tell the world that they have paid so and so this much as they believe it goes against professional practices,” the source added.

“The truth is the owner of the club is facing financial challenges, but he makes efforts as claimed by club. Word on the streets is that a prominent business in the city is promising to help the Bulawayo Chiefs brand survive the financial struggles,” the source said.

The source said the Chibuku Super Cup final proceeds were paid in RTGS [real time gross settlement], but the Chiefs players are paid in hard currency and that has become a challenge.

Meanwhile, the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) has acknowledged that Bulawayo Chiefs’ senior player Kelvin Madzongwe was paid US$1 000 last month, but has demanded that the club liquidate its $4 000 debt owed to the player in salaries.

In a letter gleaned by NewsDay Weekender Sport written on Wednesday, FUZ conceded Madzongwe was paid his US$20 000 signing-on fees last year and the $1 000 last month, but said the club was in contractual breach for failing to pay his salaries for the months of September to December 2022.

“The non-payment of his salaries is a serious breach and violation of his contract of employment. As a result, we herewith formally put Bulawayo Chief Football Club in default and we ask you to pay the total amount of US$4 000 towards his salaries within the following 48 hours into his bank account or cash, in order to remedy the breach of contract,” FUZ said.

The players are said to have indicated they can only be addressed by Sibanda and not anyone within the club’s leadership.

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